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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Police cars From Around the World

Real Polar Bear Club

Lithium-Ion Motorcycles

Robotic Insect Takes Off for the First Time

Researchers at Harvard have created a robotic fly that could one day be used for covert surveillance and detecting toxic chemicals.

A life-size, robotic fly has taken flight at Harvard University. Weighing only 60 grams, with a wingspan of three centimeters, the tiny robot's movements are modeled on those of a real fly. While much work remains to be done on the mechanical insect, the researchers say that such small flying machines could one day be used as spies, or for detecting harmful chemicals.
"Nature makes the world's best fliers," says Robert Wood, leader of Harvard's robotic-fly project and a professor at the university's school of engineering and applied sciences.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding Wood's research in the hope that it will lead to stealth surveillance robots for the battlefield and urban environments. The robot's small size and fly-like appearance are critical to such missions. "You probably wouldn't notice a fly in the room, but you certainly would notice a hawk," Wood says

Nanoglue Sticks Underwater

Bandages might stay put even after a swim, thanks to a new adhesive developed by researchers at Northwestern University. The glue not only works well on wet surfaces, but it can also be pulled off and reused more than a thousand times.
The nanoglue is made of 400-nanometer-wide silicone pillars covered with a polymer that mimics the adhesive proteins found in mussels. In addition to bandages, the new material could be used in drug-delivery patches and in adhesive tapes to close surgical wounds, says Phillip Messersmith, a biomedical-engineering professor at Northwestern University, who reported the glue in Nature this week.

Vaio TZ: The Little Notebook That Could?

Sony's Vaio TZ laptop closes in on the convergent hotspot around which subnotebooks have hovered for years: small size and great power combined with ubiquitous connectivity. But (drum roll, raised eyebrow, deep breath) is it any good? Does it take the nearly-there Vaio TX and hammer it home? Indications are that it does — if you can afford it.

The revision uses the X505-style wide-gap keyboard that Apple also likes, and has other design flourishes such as carbon-fiber frames in the more expensive models. Core 2 Duo and other spec bumps that fluff it into shape for the road-warriors, and at 2.7 lbs, with an 11" LED-backlit screen, optional 32GB flash drive, and 11.5 (yes, eleven-point-five) hours of claimed battery life, it's got great palmtop credentials.
The cons? It comes loaded with a crapload of craplets and the same steam-era Intel GPU that was in the earlier model. Oh, yes, one last thing: $2,200.
So it's great, but Chismillionare still thinks the Asus Eee is the way to go in this segment and at a tenth of the price with no hour glass ever again!!!

Man's Best Friend

Mega Collection Transfomers -sold for $1,000,000

Prosthetic Leg: Tough Enough for the Army

We've come a long way from the days of the peg leg. Back then, prosthetics were poor attempts to restore some functionality to amputees, or often purely cosmetic. Now we are entering a new stage, where replacement limbs actually outperform their natural equivalents.
Healthcare company Otto Bock, has just shown the newest version of its C-Leg (think about it). Designed for the armed forces, the C-Leg has a microprocessor controlled knee, which adjusts the hydraulic systems depending on the activity being carried out. It has a remote control to switch modes, including the new standing mode, which takes weight off the good leg.
One thing you can do with a false leg is to swap it out. Try doing that with your meat leg. Wired Magazine ran an article on Oscar Pistorius, a South African runner and double amputee who bolts on a couple of $15,000 carbon fibre legs and is almost fast enough to qualify for able bodied Olympic sprinting. Not bad.
So soon enough we'll see body enhancements, peripherals for humans. Let the cyborg reign begin

Audi Announces Plans for Cleanest Diesels in the World

In mid-2008, Audi will introduce what it is calling the cleanest diesel engines in the world, thanks to its turbocharged direct-injection (TDI) technology. The first of these power plants will appear in a three-liter V6 for the Audi A4 and Q7. Additional models will follow in fast succession. Audi expects to extend the new technology to other vehicle classes and power categories by 2010.
While turbocharged direct injection certainly isn't new, Audi is introducing several innovations. The new engines will have piezoelectric common rail systems that deliver an injection pressure of 2,000 bar. They will also feature a more efficient exhaust gas recirculation system, which should bring a dramatic cut in untreated engine emissions, according to company officials. The motors will likewise feature combustion chamber sensors that enable a more precise regulation of the combustion cycle. The new TDI engines feature a "downstream ultra-low emission system," which reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90 percent. It operates on a biodegradable additive in the form of a solution called AdBlue. Tiny doses of this solution are injected upstream from the DeNOx catalytic converter. The ultra-low emission system as a whole comprises the catalytic converter, the metering module, the AdBlue tank and heated lines, as well as an extensive system of sensors. The engines will also include a separate two-way catalytic converter and an electronically controlled diesel particulate filter.

This day in History, Cracking the 100km barrier in a plane

July 19, 1963: Test pilot Joe Walker takes an X-15 aircraft to an altitude of 67 miles (106 kilometers), becoming the only pilot to surpass the 100-kilometer barrier in a rocket plane until Mike Melvill, piloting SpaceShipOne, duplicates the feat in 2004.
Walker, who flew P-38 Lightnings during World War II, became a test pilot in the early '50s and gained experience in a variety of research aircraft, including the Bell X-1, X-5 and Douglas X-3, which he said was the worst plane he ever flew. But he made his name flying North American Aviation's X-15.
Walker made his first X-15 flight in 1960 and was completely surprised by the plane's power, hollering, "Oh my God!" as the afterburners kicked in (and eliciting a joking, "Yes? You called?" from a ground controller). But he would go on to make 24 flights in the X-15, including the memorable July 19 ascent, known as Flight 90.
Breaking the 100-kilometer barrier also meant penetrating the threshold of space, so the flight qualified Walker as an astronaut. When he repeated the feat a month later, he became the first person to enter space twice.
Walker also recorded the fastest speed ever reached in an X-15: On June 27, 1962, he hit 4,104 mph, or Mach 5.92.

The Hottest Field in Physics Is Ultracold